Don Walsh Jr. might not be a name that everyone knows, but if you have been around drag racing long enough you certainly should by now! It appears that he is back in the saddle and out for blood.
A little background on Don Walsh Jr. He has been a staple on the Mustang scene for two decades. Whether it was a small tire car, a big tire Pro 5.0 car, or even a turbo powered pro mod, Don has been dominating. Don has also been the driving force at D&D Performance, the family owned business in Wixom, Michigan for just as long.
After Pro 5.0 fell off the racing scene, Don found a great fit driving the Precision Turbo powered pro mod, owned by Harry Hruska at NHRA national events. Continuously a contender on any day, at any level, it came as a shock when Don announced that he was hanging up his driving shoes to concentrate on his business and family. We as drag racers know that you can only stay away for so long though.
When Jose Gonzalez decided to put up his time crushing Corvette for sale, Don decided that it was time to snatch that up and work on a new build. We spoke to Don right after the purchase he stated that he had no plans on taking it NHRA racing, stating that his daughter and her volleyball schedule comes first. If he wanted to keep racing NHRA and had the time he would have kept driving Harry Hruska's turbo Camaro.
Don didn't get much of a chance to get the car out in 2017 because he was so busy at the shop, which is always a good problem to have. There were some test sessions and local stuff at the end of last year that Don could run at and still be home as much as possible. Once 2018 rolled around, and we found out that Don was going to the NMCA season opener in Bradenton, it was only a matter of time before he showed everyone that he was back. He certainly didn't waste any time doing that.
NMCA's Xtreme Pro Mod class is one of the largest pro mod classes outside the NHRA national events. To be at the top of this class you are going to have to compete against the likes of Jason Hamstra, Adam Flamholc, Randy Adler, Craig Sullivan, Marcus Birt, and 2017 World Champion Steve Summers. This certainly isn't a walk in the park either. You are going to have to be on your A game to even get into the 16 car field. Getting the tune spot on, and driving through 3500 horsepower wheelstands at the 300' mark are just two of the obstacles that you might have to overcome to take a round win.
Saturday at NMCA was not in favor of those still trying to get their program together. The rain rolled in early and caused the field to lose a round of qualifying. That didn't stop Don from qualifying #4 with a 3.757 out 24 cars on the sheet. The bump spot for getting into the field was a 4.049. On Sunday, the first round of eliminations had Don facing off against the California based Camaro of Eric Gustafson 3.733 to Eric's 3.934. In the second round Don faced off against Andrew Handras and Andrew's nitrous powered Camaro. This time Don took the win with a 4.059 to Andrew's off pace 4.553. When Don pulled up for his semi-final pairing he took the tree against Joe Baker's 2015 Corvette. Joe had mechanical issues and wasn't able to take the tree. Don took his light and blasted off a 3.743. Once the finals rolled around, the only other man standing was last years #2 in the world Jason Hamstra with his blown Camaro. Jason's 3.749 could not keep up with Don's 3.705 at 208.96.
Congratulations to Don on the win at the season opener. We certainly hope to see him back at it again when NMCA rolls into Atlanta next month.